Monday, March 19, 2012

Andy Briggs clarifies intent of rebooting Tarzan for YA readers

Reason Number 5,984 why the Internet is awesome: publicly airing your struggle to understand the purpose of a Tarzan reboot for Young Adult readers and receiving a personal response from the author. After my news roundup post on Friday, Andy Brigss sent me a very nice email that he's given me permission to re-post here.
Hi Michael

Hope you are well! I just read your blog post on my Tarzan, and SHOCK, agree with you...

Let me explain; (as you kindly indicated) I never said my reboot was to replace Tarzan - EVER. In fact, the whole idea is to encourage a new generation of readers to be introduced to the character and fall in love with him so they will eventually read Burroughs originals. I was asked by Orion to write the foreword to their new compendium (in the UK) of Burroughs' first six Tarzan books, and again I state that my version is to reach out to new readers and introduce them to the original.

I would bristle too if somebody re-wrote Tarzan or suggested that children won't read the originals. However, worldwide library and publishing statistics clearly show that Tarzan is not being read by nearly as much as he used to. His popularity is rapidly declining, and, as a fan, I didn't want to see that happen. I know kids WILL read the originals, but the fact is, they need a push! Especially in the UK, children are being "forced" to read "classics" such as Dickens rather than Burroughs or Conan Doyle.

Any way, thanks for getting a Tarzan discussion flowing, and thank you for being objective in a constructive manner!

Best Wishes

Andy Briggs
In a second email, Briggs clarified that he's "not being an annoying protective author (well, trying not to be!)." I totally appreciate that position. There's a fine line between clarifying your intentions as an author so's not to be misunderstood on the one hand, and getting defensive on the other. Briggs stayed clear on the side of claifying, even noting in his second email that "I appreciate people may not like the book (after all, there are books I don't like!) but I definitely don't want people to think this is any sort of replacement."

He also points out that there's a download pack for teachers on his website that includes rough ideas for lesson plans, notes for reading groups, and encouragement for readers to check out Burroughs' original novels and make comparisons with his. Very classy.

Incidentally, I discovered from his website that Briggs also wrote a couple of issues of Markosia's Kong: King of Skull Island adaptation and has a graphic novel called DinoCorps coming out later this month. So that's pretty cool too.

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